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50 Wealthiest Greeks in America (10-1): An Annual TNH Edition of Our Community’s Top Achievers


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9. PETER G. ANGELOS

Maryland
$2.1 BILLION (TNHE)
LAW, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
University of Baltimore; Married, 2 children

Peter G. Angelos- Baltimore Orioles

Born on Independence Day, Peter G. Angelos is an American trial lawyer – although most people know him as the owner, chairman and former CEO of the MLB team, the Baltimore Orioles.

Angelos was born in Pittsburgh, PA on July 4, 1929, to immigrants from the island of Karpathos. He moved to Baltimore at age 11 when his family settled in the Highlandtown section of the city. His father owned a tavern in East Baltimore where Peter worked during his adolescence. Peter learned very quickly how hard life could be – especially in Baltimore. Baltimore wasn’t a gentle environment to say the least; in order to protect himself, Peter learned how to box at the Baltimore Athletic Association.

After graduating from high school, Angelos attended the University of Baltimore where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He then decided to attend the university’s law school at night, where he eventually was named his class’ valedictorian. Angelos then went on to a lucrative career in trial law, specializing in cases involving harmful products, professional malpractice, and personal injury. Following graduation, Angelos began working as a criminal defense lawyer. He founded his own practice in 1961, and in the 1980s, he shifted his focus from criminal law to civil class action suits. His law firm and wealth expanded exponentially in 1982 when he (successfully) represented 8,700 plaintiffs – the largest number of plaintiffs ever – in an asbestos litigation and won. He reportedly made over $300 million on this one case alone. Angelos was also enormously successful in suing Wyeth, the makers of the diet pill fen-phen, and representing the state of Maryland as lead attorney in a lawsuit against tobacco company Philip Morris. The agreement had stipulated that he would receive 25% of the recovery, but when it came to $4.5 billion, Maryland refused to pay; Angelos’ team settled for $150 million.

Angelos bought the Orioles in August 1993, leading a group of investors including prominent Marylanders like novelist Tom Clancy, in purchasing the team for $173 million, a record price at the time. The Orioles enjoyed some success early under Angelos’ ownership, making the postseason as a wild card team in 1996 and winning the American League East Division title in 1997. They also enjoyed some success in the mid-2010’s but have since been in a period of ‘rebuilding.’ In March 2022, Forbes reported that the team was worth $1.4 billion.

Angelos and his wife, Georgia, have two sons: Louis, an attorney, and John, who has picked up from his father as CEO of the Baltimore Orioles. Despite some recurring rumors of a move, “the Baltimore Orioles have stated publicly that they remain committed to Baltimore and to Maryland,” according to Thomas Kelso, chairman of the stadium authority, which is the landlord for the Orioles. John Angelos and other club executives have sought to assure Baltimore fans that the franchise is stable and intends to remain in the city. In 2019, John Angelos told a crowd of Baltimore business leaders that the team would stay in Baltimore “as long as Fort McHenry is standing watch over the Inner Harbor.” However, a month ago, the Orioles decided not to accept a five-year lease extension at Camden Yards – a decision that leaves the team with no lease beyond this year. Governor Wes Moore and John Angelos said they intend to redevelop Camden Yards and ‘deliver a live, work, play theme that will bring residents, businesses, and tourists to downtown Baltimore year-round’ – which will require additional negotiations over a new lease in the coming months.

A lifelong Democrat, Angelos has thrown his hat into the political arena as well. He won election to the Baltimore City Council and served on the Council from 1959 to 1963. He also ran for mayor as an independent in 1964, but lost. He has been an active supporter of national Democratic candidates and most recently, ESPN that Peter Angelos was among the top donors among MLB owners to either party over the last election cycle.

Angelos serves as a member of the board for a number of colleges, hospitals, and civic organizations and has been widely honored for his commitment to higher education and civic causes. He has received honorary doctorate degrees from Mount Saint Mary’s College, Loyola College in Maryland and the University of Baltimore. He is a member of the Business-Higher Education Forum, the Supreme Court Historical Society, the American Academy of Achievement and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor Society. He is a recipient of the AFL-CIO Social Justice Award.

He presently serves as a Member of the Board of the following institutions and foundations: Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland Medical Systems Corporation, George Meany Center- National Labor College, Loyola College in Maryland, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He is also a member of: the Johns Hopkins Medicine Board of Visitors, the Advisory Board of the University of Baltimore School of Law, and the Board of Visitors of the University of Baltimore.

Angelos has been active in charitable programs in the city and state. He enjoys horse racing and owns thoroughbred horses. He has given $10 million to his alma mater, the University of Baltimore; in return, the new law school building bears the name of his parents: The John and Frances Angelos Law Center, which opened in April 2013. That same year, he donated $2.5 million to the MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in Baltimore to open a lung disease center.

 

9. PETER J. BARRIS

Virginia
$2.1 BILLION (TNHE)
VENTURE CAPITAL
Northwestern University (Electrical Engineering); Married, 2 children

Peter J. Barris

Peter J. Barris, now 71, is a Greek American businessman and venture capitalist – although he didn’t necessarily think he was going to go down that career path.

Barris grew up in Chicago, IL. His father, James, was an engineer, and his grandparents were from Greece. His father encouraged Barris to follow the same career path that he did – but Barris had his eyes set on the law – more specifically, patent law – which he had heard required an engineering degree. Northwestern had excellent law and engineering schools, so he enrolled there. Eventually, he realized that patent law wasn’t where his passion lay but continued his studies of electrical engineering and then went on to earn his MBA from Dartmouth College. He eventually started his career in various management positions at General Electric Company where he spent almost a decade.

In 1992, following his tenure at LEGENT Corporation and UCCEL Corporation, Barris joined New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA), where he eventually served as managing general partner from 1999 to 2017. At NEA, Barris led investments in over 25 companies that have gone public or had successful acquisitions.

Today, Barris serves as the Chairman of NEA. According to the NEA website, during Barris’ 18 years at the helm, the company’s assets grew from $1 billion to over $20 billion and the organization scaled its operations to become one of the world’s largest venture capital firms. The company, which started with offices in Maryland and California’s Silicon Valley, now has branches in Menlo Park and New York. NEA has $24+ billion in committed capital, 500+ companies and has completed 230 IPOs.

Under Barris’ leadership, NEA invested in industry-transforming technology companies like CareerBuilder, Tableau, Diapers.com, Groupon, Jet.com, Juniper Networks, Macromedia, Salesforce.com, TiVo, and Workday. (NEA invested $14.8 million in Groupon early on and received $70 million back in 2011. That year, Groupon went public, reaping one of the greatest venture returns ever with an initial public offering value of $12.8 billion.)

Barris serves on the board of public companies Groupon (GRPN) and Sprout Social (SPT) and is currently a director of several private companies.

Barris has been named several times to the Forbes Midas List of top technology investors, to Crain’s Chicago 50 Top Tech Stars, to Washington Tech Council’s Hall of Fame, and to the Washington Business Hall of Fame.

Barris serves on the boards of In-Q-Tel and The Brookings Institute. He previously served on the Executive Committee of the Board of the National Venture Capital Association and was also a founding member of Venture Philanthropy Partners, a philanthropic organization in the Washington D.C. area. Most recently, Barris was elected chair of Northwestern University’s Board of Trustees and joined the Board of Directors of The Hellenic Initiative.

Barris, a member of Leadership 100 and an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, lives in McLean, VA. with his wife, Adrienne. They have two married daughters who also live in the Washington, DC area. His interests include traveling, skiing, “any and all Greek food,” boating, and spending time with his family.

 

8. AMB. GEORGE L. ARGYROS

California
$2.2 BILLION (Forbes)
REAL ESTATE, SPORTS
Chapman University (Business & Economics); Married, 2 Children

George_L_Argyros

George Leon Argyros is well known in a wide variety of prominent circles, as his long and illustrious life has included achievements ranging from real estate, to sports, to international diplomacy. Argyros served as U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra and was an owner of the professional baseball team, the Seattle Mariners – which he sold in 1989. But Argyros, now 86, made his fortune by selling real estate.

A second-generation American of Greek descent, Argyros was born in Detroit, MI and raised in Pasadena, CA. He worked his way through high school and college in southern California as a paperboy and grocery clerk. He then went into real estate in 1962, selling land at busy intersections to gas stations. In 1968, he founded the property firm Arnel & Affiliates in southern California. Today, the privately held company owns and manages 5,500 apartments and 2 million square feet of commercial space. Argyros also founded Westar Capital, a private equity firm, in 1987 and is a director of First American Financial Corp and Pacific Mercantile Bancorp.

In 2001, then-President George W. Bush appointed Argyros as U.S. Ambassador to Spain. Argyros also served on the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FreddieMac) under President George H.W. Bush.

A resident of Harbor Island in Newport Bay, CA, Argyros is a recognized business leader and philanthropist. He was the 1993 recipient of the Horatio Alger Award of Distinguished Americans (perhaps the single-most coveted award given in American to non-military, non-show business individuals), and a 2001 recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. In 1999, Chapman University’s School of Business and Economics was renamed in honor of Argyros, who had been the longest-serving chairman of the university’s board of trustees.

Argyros, a trustee emeritus of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, also serves as a Life Trustee for the California Institute of Technology, where he formerly served as Chairman of the Investment Committee. Ambassador and Mrs. Argyros initiated the first national college scholarship program exclusively for veterans who had served honorably in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Military scholarships totaling 2,349 and valued at $11.74 million have been awarded to these veterans.

In 2018, the Argyros family foundation pledged $7.5 million to renovate the Los Angeles Coliseum, home of the USC Trojans and, according to the Los Angeles Times, the foundation donated $750,000 to help get the Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society established in its new location in Newport Beach, CA.

The Argyros family is part of an estimated $17-million campus renovation for the Mariners Christian School in Costa Mesa. Their contribution went towards a new 900-seat auditorium (the Argyros Center for Worship and Performing Arts) and a redesigned gymnasium (Living Legacy Athletic Center). Additionally, in December of 2019, the Argyros family announced a surprise $5M donation to the South Coast Repertory, the Tony Award-winning theater in Costa Mesa. It is one of the largest single donations in the history of the theater, which was founded in 1964.The family was also honored by the city of Costa Mesa, CA in May of 2019 with a Lifetime Achievement Award for service to the community.

More recently, Argyros donated $7.5 million to the Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach which will be directed towards the hospital’s nursing services. It was also announced in September 2022 that the City of Hope would be the recipient of another Argyros family gift – this time in the amount of $25M.

Argyros is an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Order of St. Andrew the Apostle. He and his wife, Julia – who have been married almost 60 years – have two children and eight grandchildren. Their third child, George Argyros Jr., passed away in August of 2020 at the young age of 55 as a result of a heart attack.

 

5. C. DEAN METROPOULOS

Florida
$2.6 BILLION (Forbes)
PRIVATE EQUITY, ACQUISITIONS
BS/MBA Babson College; Married, 2 Children

C. Dean Metropoulos

C. Dean Metropoulos is a vital part of the Greek American community. Always a part of the top 10 of this list year after year, Mr. Metropoulos continues to expand his private equity investments as Chairman and CEO of Metropoulos & Co., a boutique acquisition and management firm. Mr. Metropoulos, with his two sons, Evan and Daren, have spent the past 35+ years acquiring, transforming, and growing numerous businesses in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Europe. Many of these were subsequently taken public or sold to strategic corporations.

Born in Greece, Metropoulos moved with his family to Massachusetts at the age of 10. After receiving his BS and MBA from Babson College, Mr. Metropoulos joined GTE and at the age of 25 became the youngest U.S. corporate CFO in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, moving from the U.S. to Paris, Brussels, and Geneva. At 29 he became GTE’s International youngest Sr. Vice President traveling to every continent and many countries with GTE’s Telecom, Television and Lighting businesses.

Mr. Metropoulos started his private equity practice at the age of 32, as he foresaw a new and growing frontier of Private Equity redefining investments, businesses and venture capital globally.  With his focus on consumer and industrial businesses, Mr. Metropoulos, Evan, and Daren have owned and transformed more historic and iconic brands than any organization in the world. They have become globally recognized for their performance and integrity and are sought after partners by many global private equity firms and investors, particularly with their highly recognized and superior investment returns. Among a few of the unique brands and companies acquired and transformed are: Ghirardelli Chocolate, Pabst Blue Ribbon (and many regional beer brands), Mumm and Perrier Jouet Champagnes, Chef Boyardee, Bumble Bee, Vlasic, Duncan Hines, Pam Cooking Spray, Premier Foods – the largest UK consumer business, Hostess, and recently all of Nestle’s U.S. and Canadian spring water brands, including Poland Spring, Saratoga, Pure Life, Zephyrhills, Arrowhead, etc.

An example of the turnaround of iconic brands was the Metropoulos well-known deal of turning Hostess Brands around from Chapter VII bankruptcy. The firm paid $410M for Hostess while in bankruptcy, and today’s enterprise value for Hostess is $4.2 billion. In 2016, Metropoulos and the Gores Group took Hostess public via a SPAC.

Metropoulos & Co. has been involved in more than 78 acquisitions and 5 SPACS involving over $58 billion in invested capital and has earned some of the most attractive returns on Wall Street.

Metropoulos is committed, and along with his family, are members and supporters of many Hellenic and Greek Orthodox organizations. As part of their commitment to their Greek heritage, Marianne Metropoulos wrote and produced, for our future generations, the feature film “Cliffs of Freedom” depicting Greece’s fight for independence from the Ottoman Empire. The movie features Christopher Plummer and Pattie LuPone in starring roles, among other well-known actors.

The family is also active in many international philanthropic efforts, including the Gates and Buffett Giving Pledge, Prince’s Trust International (now King Charles), where Mrs. Metropoulos is principal benefactor of the international division educating hundreds of children in Africa and Greece, medical research such as the Epigenetics Cancer Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering, early partners with Paul Newman of the Hole in the Wall Camps for children with cancer, as well as many other philanthropic efforts in education, abused animals, poverty, etc.

Metropoulos has been honored by the International Foundation for Greece (IFG), as well as by the Hellenic Post, which issued stamps dedicated to him.

 

5. GEORGE M. MARCUS

California
$2.6 BILLION (TNHE)
REAL ESTATE
San Francisco State University (Economics); Married, 4 Children

George M. Marcus

Born George Mathew Moutsanas in 1941 on the Greek island of Evia during World War II, George Marcus emigrated to the United States at the age of 4 – more than seven decades ago.

When the Marcus family arrived in the United States, they settled in San Francisco’s blue-collar Potrero Hill neighborhood, where, Mr. Marcus has said, his top priority was fitting in. It was in this neighborhood that Marcus eventually met his future wife, Judy, with whom he has four children. According to an interview with the Nob Hill Gazette, Marcus was friends with Judy’s younger brother – they knew each other since elementary school. However, it wasn’t until after Marcus came home from the military that his friend, Judy’s brother, suggested that he should go on a date with his sister.

Marcus completed his undergraduate studies in Economics at San Francisco State University (SFSU) in just two and a half years. He was named SFSU Alumnus of the year in 1989 and one of its 11 Distinguished Centennial Alumni in 1999. He and his wife (also an SFSU alum), helped create SFSU’s International Center for the Arts with a $3 million gift. Marcus also helped develop SFSU’s Greek Studies program, and chairs its Modern Greek Studies Foundation, which supports the Nikos Kazantzakis Chair for Modern Greek Studies. Mr. Marcus is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School of Owners/Presidents Management Program and the Georgetown University Leadership Program.

Professionally, George Marcus is the founder of Marcus & Millichap Company and has been its chairman since 1971. Marcus & Millichap Company is the parent company of a diversified group of real estate, service, investment and development firms including SummerHill Homes, one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s largest home builders.  Also falling under the Marcus & Millichap family of companies are Pacific Urban Investors, SummerHill Apartment Communities, and Meridian. Marcus is also the Founder and Chairman of Essex Property Trust (ESS) and Marcus & Millichap, Inc. (MMI), both publicly traded companies. MMI has established itself as a leading real estate firm in markets throughout the United States. With more than 80 offices across the U.S. and Canada, the firm concentrates on investment brokerage, and provides financing and research services to both buyers and sellers.

In an interview with the Business Times about his companies, he said they started with “a good idea, a commitment to innovate and good people who have dedicated decades to do the job.” “Integrity has always been the key,” Marcus told the Business Times. “We were always trying to do something a little bit better than the rest and we have really well-trained people to do it,” he said. Later in the interview Marcus said, “I’ve never told someone what to do — but convinced them to do it.”

Along with another Greek-American couple, George and Judy Marcus opened the successful Evvia restaurant in Palo Alto in 1995, and its sister restaurant Kokkari in San Francisco in 1999.

Marcus supports many organizations of the Greek-American community. In 2008, he co-founded and is the current Chairman Emeritus of the National Hellenic Society, which brings together distinguished Greek-Americans on a national level to preserve their heritage. His considerable commitments to the Greek Orthodox Church and the Community include affiliations with the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco, International Orthodox Christian Charities, the Elios Society of Northern California, Leadership 100, and many others. He is also involved with The Hellenic Initiative, the Washington ‘Oxi’ Day Foundation, and the United Religions Initiative. In February 2017, The National Herald reported that Marcus donated $1 million to the Hellenic College and Holy Cross Theological School (HCHC) in Massachusetts. In 2021, he donated another $2 million (in addition to the $1 million he had already donated) towards the rebuilding of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center in Manhattan.

The Marcuses also support non-Greek causes as well. In 2018, they gave San Francisco State University a $25 million gift to benefit the school’s liberal arts program (the largest grant ever given to that institution). In 2019, they gave $10M to Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School which will be used to establish an endowment – a gift that the school’s president called “transformational.”

The Marcuses have also been major political donors, mostly to Democratic and liberal causes.

 

4. JOHN PAUL DeJORIA

California
$3.0 BILLION (Forbes)
HAIR CARE PRODUCTS, SPIRITS
Married, 6 Children

John Paul Dejoria

With a $200M jump in net worth this year, John Paul Dejoria, like so many on this list, is the embodiment of the American Dream.

The son of an Italian immigrant father and a Greek immigrant mother, DeJoria (then 2-years-old) was placed in a foster home after his parents’ divorce, when his single mother struggled to provide for their family. Until he was nine years old, DeJoria would spend his weekdays away from his mother before moving back in with her. Hitting close to (our) home, Dejoria began his working career by delivering newspapers with his brother in order to help support his family. Despite the challenges she faced, DeJoria’s mother made sure to instill in her children a sense of responsibility to the community. DeJoria has been quoted telling a story that when he was 5, and without money to spend on Christmas presents, she gave him and his brother money to give to the Salvation Army. The amount was not insignificant in 1950, certainly not to a family that was fighting to make ends meet. “They need it more than we do,” his mother said, ingraining in DeJoria’s mind the attitude that “success unshared is failure” – his life’s motto.

From these humble beginnings, he went on to serve in the U.S. Navy for two years, before holding a series of jobs, including as a janitor, a gas station attendant and an encyclopedia salesman. When he lost his job as an encyclopedia salesman, a job he credits with teaching him everything about business, he could only find work as an announcer at a local racetrack. By then, he was married and had his first baby. But the financial difficulties were such that his wife abandoned both of them when they were evicted from their home, taking all their savings with her. Suddenly, DeJoria and his baby son were homeless.

His road to success started to form when he got a job at Redken Laboratories. A career as consultant with several hair care and cosmetic companies started, and in 1980, DeJoria teamed up with his friend Paul Mitchell to launch John Paul Mitchell Systems, a line of high-end hair care products. Mitchell only had $350 dollars to launch the company; DeJoria, who was living in his car at the time, borrowed an equal amount from his mother. After two years of hand-to-mouth work, the company grossed $1 million. The John Paul Mitchell Systems hair products company, still privately held, is worth more than a billion dollars. They are available in more than 100,000 salons in the United States and are distributed throughout the world.

In 1989, DeJoria was doing much better than he ever imagined. So much so that when his friend Martin Crowley came back from Mexico with news of the best tequila he had had in his life, DeJoria was able to invest in it. Confident in the brand’s premium profile, they launched it at a market-leading price, only to have their expectations confirmed by the success of Patron tequila, now a leader around the world. Eventually, the original ultra-premium tequila was acquired by Bacardi Limited for $5.1 billion in 2018.

In June 2014, DeJoria co-founded (with British entrepreneur Jonathan Kendrick) ROK Mobile, a music streaming service combined with a contract free mobile phone plan offering unlimited voice, text, and data. A few years later, they announced a line of smartphones – which, unlike other phones, are paired with vital life services like family telemedicine, legal counsel and more. ROKiT unveiled its first fully functioning WiFi City in Austin, TX. The company enables free WiFi and online streaming services to the residents of Community First! Village which provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness. The ROKiT team announced that they are expanding their services to other countries throughout North, Central and South America, as well as Africa and Asia – most recently, they launched in Tirana, Albania and in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

DeJoria contributes to more than 160 charities, which include the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the American Cancer Society, food banks Loaves & Fishes, Food4Africa, Grow Appalachia, and Chrysalis, a nonprofit group that helps homeless and low-income people get back on their feet and find the path to self-sufficiency.

In response to the homeless crisis in America, Dejoria has brought together a community called Mobile Loaves and Fishes which has constructed 250 small homes in the city of Austin, TX, for those who have been sleeping on the streets for over a year. Homeless people pay $90 per month for their small homes but are prohibited from drinking alcohol and fighting. The program also affords the homeless the opportunity to learn skills and earn money; it offers woodshop, auto shop, metal shop, crafts, and gardening. This training allows them to earn an income and their gardens allow them to eat organically. Dejoria noted that the program is working so well that they will be adding an additional 400 homes to the project. Mobile Loaves & Fishes counts on the support of 19,000 volunteers

Today, DeJoria is on lists of the world’s billionaires, and one of America’s richest living veterans. One of the remarkable luxuries in his life is the private, 85-foot long train car, the Patron Tequila Express, which is open only to his personal guests. He and his third wife, the former Eloise Brady, are based in Austin, TX. Dejoria has six children, one of whom is professional drag-racer, Alexis DeJoria.

 

3. JOHN A. CATSIMATIDIS

New York
$4.1 BILLION (Forbes)
OIL, REAL ESTATE, SUPERMARKETS
New York University; Married, 2 Children

Increasing his wealth again this year, a ‘true son of New York’, John A. Catsimatidis remains one of the richest Greek-Americans, and a prominent public figure in the Greek-American community and beyond.

From the small Greek island of Nisyros, Catsimatidis’ family moved to an apartment in Harlem (135th Street) when he was an infant. He attended New York University to study electrical engineering – going to school during the day and working in a small grocery at night and on weekends to help his parents pay the family bills. During his senior year, with just 8 credits remaining, John dropped out of NYU (much to his father’s dismay) in order to work in the grocery business on a full-time basis. A true self-made billionaire owing his success to decades of personal hard work and innovation, Catsimatidis had opened 10 successful Red Apple Supermarkets in Manhattan’s Upper West Side by his 25th birthday.

Perhaps best known for his Gristedes supermarket chain in New York, Catsimatidis’ diverse investments include real estate, oil, and other industries. Early on, he turned a $5 million Manhattan real investment into $100 million, in just five years. His involvement in oil began when he purchased United Refining in Warren, PA, buying it out of bankruptcy for $7.5 million. Since then, the firm has grown to 375 gas outlets and convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio.

Catsimatidis is chairman and CEO of the Red Apple Group, which is among the country’s largest privately held companies that has holdings in the energy, aviation, retail, and real estate sectors with 8,000 employees. With a major focus on energy, Catsimatidis’ fortune accelerated with rising oil prices. Catsimatidis also hosts a weekly talk radio show, the Cats Roundtable, during which he interviews people involved in politics. In 2019, Catsimatidis acquired WABC.

Catsimatidis’ most recent projects include building mixed-use developments in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene and Coney Island neighborhoods. In Florida, Catsimatidis began construction on The Residences at 400 Central – a 46-story condo tower that will take up a whole block in St. Petersburg.

Most recently, Catsimatidis shared his rags-to-riches story in How Far Do You Want To Go? Lessons From A Common-Sense Billionaire published by Matt Hold Books in February 2023.

Always an extremely active member of the Greek-American community, Catsimatidis has continued his stewardship of the St. Andrew Ecumenical Patriarchal Fund, and his support for the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine. Catsimatidis has also helped raise millions for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Juvenile Diabetes research and is on the board of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund. Since 1988 he has funded scholarships at the NYU School of Business. Catsimatidis is married to Margo and is the father of two children, Andrea and John Jr.

 

2. JIM DAVIS & FAMILY

Massachusetts
$4.9 BILLION (Forbes)
NEW BALANCE
Middlebury College (Biology/Chemistry); Married, 2 Children

Jim Davis & Family – New Balance logο

Jim Davis, now 79, made it by manufacturing shoes and athletic apparel – even though that’s not what he initially thought his career would entail. Originally believing he would work in medicine, he ended up taking the advice of one of his professors who told him he should go into sales instead. When he was still in his twenties, he bought the 66-year-old New Balance shoe company for $100K – which now makes about $4.4B in revenue (2022).

The Massachusetts-born son of Greek immigrants started out working as a ‘lumper’ carrying trays for his father’s restaurants. Having received a degree in Biology/Chemistry from Middlebury College, Davis planned to work in medicine but after a brief sales career, Davis decided to run his own company, and eventually bought New Balance, then a 6-employee firm in Boston, turning it into a major footwear and apparel brand with manufacturing facilities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe, and a workforce of 8000.

In 1976, the company began soaring to new heights with the development of the New Balance 320 running shoe. The running culture in Boston, combined with Davis’ acumen and his expanding its business in major United States markets quickly established the brand. The company remains private, with Davis and his wife, Anne, who joined the company in 1978, retaining 95% of the company for their family.

Ever a Boston brand, in April of 2019, NB Development Group broke ground on The TRACK at New Balance near the Boston Landing neighborhood (which Davis also helped create), featuring a multi-sport athletic complex spanning a city block, as well as a concert venue with The Bowery Presents (with room for up to 3,500 fans) and a New Balance Athletics Sports Research Lab. The complex opened to the public in 2022.  In April 2022, New Balance also opened a new 80,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Metheun – signaling the company’s strong commitment to American manufacturing and showcasing its long-standing pride in American craftsmanship.

In February 2023, it was announced that NBA agent Rich Paul and New Balance were partnering to launch a new sportswear brand geared towards young athletes called Klutch Athletics.

 

1. THE GORES (GEORGIOUS) BROTHERS

California
$8.7 BILLION (Forbes)
EQUITY INVESTMENT, SPORTS, TECHNOLOGY, LEVERAGED BUYOUTS, ENTERTAINMENT

Sam Gores – Paradigm Talent Agency Logo

Back at the very top of our list with a combined net worth of almost $9 billion, the Gores brothers are a force to be reckoned with. Their amazing story – from their more than humble beginnings to their rise up the Forbes Billionaire list – gives us insight on exactly what it means to be an immigrant with lofty but achievable aspirations.

The brothers, born to a Greek father and a Lebanese mother in Nazareth, Israel, moved to the United States in 1968, and were supported by family to settle in Michigan. Alec, Sam and Tom, (formerly Elias, Samir and Tewfiq, respectively) arrived in the United States and initially started stocking shelves and bagging groceries for 25 cents/hour at their small family grocery in Flint, MI.

In an interview with Forbes in 2016, one of the brothers said, “my father was willing to give up literally everything he had [in Israel] and pack his bags and bring us here … He did it for the kids, to make sure we have a better future.” Their father, Charlie, emphasized hard work and an appreciation for the opportunities the United States presented. “The day we landed in America, my dad sat us down and he said, ‘this is your new country. You have to respect it. You have to embrace it. You’ve got to work hard, and you can do anything you want in this country.’” Get to know the brothers better below:

Tom Gores:

Tom grew up playing football, basketball and baseball in high school and still coaches youth soccer and basketball teams. He went to Michigan State University before founding Platinum Equity, his LA-based private equity firm. Platinum Equity is one of the largest private companies in the United States and has offices in California, New York, Boston, London, and Singapore. The firm oversees more than 40 companies with some $36B in assets.

His obsession with sports led Tom to become the sole owner of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, after buying out Platinum’s stake, in 2016. With his financial backing, the team’s $90M new headquarters and training center opened in September 2019.

Tom Gores – Detroit Pistons Logo

With an interest in the arts, and a commitment to charity, including the FlintNow, which he launched in 2016 to address the water crisis in his hometown of Flint, MI, Gores was nonetheless the subject of intense criticism over Platinum Equity’s acquiring of Securus, an industry leader in providing telecommunications to incarcerated individuals. The company was criticized for its exorbitant rates for phone calls – and the burden of that cost is held by the families, who were struggling even more to keep in contact with their friends and loved ones during the pandemic. Despite the Securus controversy, Gores renewed his long-standing commitment to giving back to the community. Last year, he partnered with the U.S. Marines and volunteers of the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, to provide toys to more than 1800 families during the holiday season. More recently, in January 2023, he donated $500K to the V Foundation for pediatric cancer research. He has also been very keen in developing Detroit. In February 2023, he (alongside Henry Ford Health, the Detroit Pistons and Michigan State University) announced a $2.5 billion development in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood which would produce over 500 apartments and create jobs and access to healthcare and housing in the city.

Tom, his wife, Holly, and their three children (Catherina, Amanda & Charles) live in Beverly Hills, CA, but also maintain a home in Birmingham, MI. Their home in California is said to be worth $100 million and has over 300,000 square feet of interior space.

Alec Gores:

The first person in his family to finish college, Alec graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in computer science. He is now a father of six and is married to Kelly Noonan Gores. In 2022, the family sold their 31,000 square foot French chateau-inspired estate in Beverly Park for $70 million (cash) in an off-market sale.

Today, Alec has a personal net worth of $2.5B but he got his professional start in business at General Motors, where he quit to launch Executive Business Solutions, selling computers out of his basement. His father “gave [him] his last $8,000 and had [him] go buy a demo machine,” Alec told Forbes. “That’s what I needed to start the business.” In 1986 Alec eventually sold that company to Contel for approximately $2 million, and a year later he founded the Beverly Hills-based private equity firm The Gores Group (however, its assets have shrunk more than 80% in the last decade). Gores is also involved in many special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) – though in late 2022 he liquidated three of them and returned cash to investors. The three SPACs held about $1.3 billion.

Alec has stated that he has donated more than $50 million in his lifetime (as of mid-2018), to recipients such as the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and to a variety of programs for children.

Alec famously lost over $17 million in a three-day backgammon series to fellow billionaire JP McManus in 2012, the Independent reported, and Gores promptly “paid up like a gent.”

Sam Gores:

Sam Gores started out as an agent at the Gage Group before founding SGA Representation, eventually to become Gores/Fields. Through a series of mergers and calculated expansion into different fields of the entertainment business, Sam founded Paradigm Talent Agency, of which he remains chairman. The company represents thousands of creators in music, TV & Film, the theater, and literature, with some of the most well-known names in its music division alone currently including Billie Eilish, Shawn Mendes, Sia, Imagine Dragons, Kacey Musgraves, Mark Ronson, The Prodigy, Pusha T.

Over the last year, Sam and Paradigm bought three talent firms: Napoli Management, 3 Kings Entertainment and Two Twelve Management & Marketing – expanding its reach to TV news anchors and onscreen culinary stars. Napoli and 3 Kings represent talent at channels like CNN, Fox News, ESPN and NFL Network, as well as local stations across the country. Two Twelve’s clients include Top Chef judge Tom Collicchio, and Food Network talent like Anne Burrell and Geoffrey Zakarian.

A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Recording Academy, Sam Gores also serves as a Trustee at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and is on the board of Geffen Playhouse.

Sam has donated to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. He is also an active participant in Conservation International and Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish Arab Education in Israel which builds schools in Israel for both Jewish and Arab children.

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